Last Wednesday marked the United States’ official withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. Angola, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, South Sudan, Turkey, and Yemen are the only other countries to not formally adopt the agreement after originally signing it. The reason that the United States is leaving in 2020 is that signatory countries could not give notice of their intention to leave the agreement until three years from ratification, and notice had to be served twelve months in advance.
President Barack Obama originally pledged the United States to reduce its emissions about 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. While progress on that national goal has floundered over the last few years, many states and corporations have set their own aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in the absence of federal leadership.
There are no technical obstacles to rejoining the Paris Agreement. The United States’ lapse in engagement means that we have not been able to engage as meaningfully in setting targets or participating in climate negotiations over the last few years. Rejoining the Paris Agreement is an important step to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and regaining our place as a global climate leader.
Friedman, Lisa. New York Times. November 4, 2020.